San Diego’s Inaugural Great Chef Throwdown Against Cystic Fibrosis Supports the Search for a Cure

July 19, 2012


Representing three generations of CF Foundation supporters and outfitted in Titanic-era clothing, these guests enjoyed a night of Titanic-themed festivities and outstanding food at the inaugural Great Chef Throwdown Against Cystic Fibrosis, while raising $80,000 in support of the search for a cure.

This June, more than 250 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation volunteers gathered at the San Diego Natural History Museum to raise $80,000 in support of the search for a cure at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter’s inaugural Great Chef Throwdown Against Cystic Fibrosis.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and a seven-course dinner, with eight of San Diego’s best chefs presenting their modern interpretation of courses served on the Titanic the fateful night of April 14, 1912. Attendees — many looking the part, dressed in Titanic-era garb — were then treated to a private viewing of the museum’s “Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition.”


Dressed as members of the Titanic crew, San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter staff set the memorable tone for the event, including a private viewing of the San Diego Natural History Museum’s “Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition.”

“Everyone in attendance enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime theme on the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, with the goal of changing the course of history for all families affected by cystic fibrosis,” said chapter associate executive director Pamela Couvignou. “We are thrilled that our wonderful guests helped raise $80,000 to support the fight against CF.”

Bid for a Cure

Volunteer Jennifer Lewis gave a moving Bid for a Cure speech about the inspirational story of her 50-year-old brother, Jim Lewis, who courageously faces the challenges of living with CF.  She credited his success to “three perfect ingredients”: dedicated parents (their father, Bernard, who passed away this year, was a long-time champion of the CF Foundation’s mission); the indomitable spirit of her brother; and the focus of the CF Foundation on putting an end to the disease.

An anonymous donor provided a matching donation challenge of $20,000 that was quickly met, and then surpassed, by the generous attendees moved by Jennifer’s speech.

The cocktail and silent auction hour was followed by a live auction program, which included exciting items such as private dinners and cooking lessons with top San Diego chefs, and a Titanic movie poster signed by 13 cast members including Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, James Cameron and Celine Dion, who sang the movie’s trademark song, “My Heart Will Go On.”

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter would like to thank the event co-chairs:

  • Jonna Talbot and Jennie Van Meter

Its corporate sponsors:

  • A-Med Healthcare and Wells Fargo

Event honorary chair and chef:

  • Michael McDonald, CF parent to Connor, 7

And all the outstanding culinary artists who helped make the event a success:

  • Bratzo Basagoitia, Café Secrets
  • Sam Benham, Toast Catering
  • Carlsbad Aqua Farms
  • Isabel Cruz, Isabel’s Cantina/Bario Star
  • Brian Malarkey / Ryan Studebaker, Gingham
  • Jennifer Muratore, Elegant Truffle
  • Michael McDonald, 2011 CRA Chef of the Year
  • Paul Schwab, Sycuan Casino & Resorts
  • Scotty Wagner, 24Carrots